Model looking lovingly at her baby in a front carry in a Lenny Upgrade soft structured carrier, print Cobalt.
The biggest selling point of the Lenny Upgrade carrier is its adjustable panel. The panel can be adjusted in both width and height to fit a child from 4 weeks old (7.7lbs) to 2.5 years old (44lbs).
So, how do you adjust the Lenny Upgrade?
(P.S. a full length, detailed video tutorial is at the very bottom of this article if you need it! Shorter clips are embedded along the way.)
Step 1: Adjust the panel width. The panel is the rectangular piece of fabric that forms the bulk of the carrier. This is the part of the carrier that forms the “seat” for your child. It’s the place their bottom will rest and their back will be supported.
How to video: Adjusting the carrier for your baby
For children under 1 year old, we want to adjust the width to fully support the child from knee to knee. This will be the most comfortable and most hip-healthy position. Your child’s legs should be able to swing freely. If the panel is too wide, fabric will either bunch at the knee or force your child's legs to straighten. As your child gets older, the carrier width may support the thighs instead of full knee-to-knee. This is because your child is stronger and able to support their legs more. Your child will be able to tell you if they need the width adjusted to be wider at this age. Every child is different!
To identify the correct width, lay the carrier down with the inside of the waistband facing up and pocket side facing down.
On this reverse side of the waistband are hook & loop adjusters. Lift the fabric of the bottom of the panel up on either side and move it toward the center. You will see suggested widths marked based on your child’s size. One side will be in Polish and the other in English. Adjust each side to the suggested size line for your child.
Next, pick your child up and lay them on the panel, bottom at the base of the panel, face up towards you. Lift the fabric of the base of the panel up to meet your child’s legs. If the panel looks like it will support your child knee to knee, you can move on to the next step. If not, adjust the width with the hook & loop adjustments again until the panel is correctly sized.
Step 2: Adjust the panel height. The Lenny Upgrade has 2 height customization options on either side of the panel.
Proper panel height means that your child is safely supported in the panel. If the top of the panel is too low, a child could tumble backwards out of the panel. A young baby without head control can be seriously injured if the panel is not high enough to support the neck. If the top of the panel is too high, the panel can become a suffocation hazard.
Children can wear this carrier “arms in” or “arms out.” For safe wearing, a child who does not yet have adequate head control should be positioned "arms in." That is, the panel should come above their shoulders, but no higher than the bottom of the ear. You will know if your child can safely be arms out because they will put their arms out on their own! Once a child can maneuver themselves to be arms out in a carrier, you can let that be your guide. Another indicator that your child is ready for "arms out" is if you're naturally placing your child on your hip. If you are placing them on your hip in everyday life, they have adequate trunk control for hip and back carries, too! An older child can choose to be arms in or arms out depending on their comfort, and it may change from outing to outing!
For safety, the lowest panel height is at the child’s armpits, and the highest panel height is at the bottom of the ear. Lower can result in your child flipping back out of the carrier. Higher can result in suffocation.
Now you’re ready to adjust!
Set your baby to the side. Flip the carrier over so that the pocket side is facing up. Look for the button adjusters. You will see 2 button adjusters in the middle of the height of the panel, on the edges, one on each side. You will see 2 more button adjusters on either side of the top edge of the panel. In total, there are 4 buttons with pull tabs available to customize the fit of the panel height.
Lay your baby back onto the carrier with their bottom at the base of the panel. Remember, the waistband will be flat against your torso and your baby will be sitting in the panel above it. Your child shouldn’t be laying on the waistband as they won’t be sitting there when the carrier is on!
Decide if you will be setting your child up for an “arms in” or “arms out” carry, per the description above. I always recommend starting “arms in” for a young baby or for a child you expect will be napping in the carrier. Once you have an idea of how high the panel should be, set your child aside so that you can adjust.
To adjust the height, unbutton the button adjuster in the center of the panel on either side and pull gently. You will see a pull tab with holes. Button the pull tab at the chosen position. Repeat on the other side, buttoning to the matching height.
Then, continue adjusting with the button adjusters at the top. These are especially useful with younger babies. Unbutton the button adjuster and gently pull. As before, you will see a pull tab with holes. Select the position desired, then repeat on the other side, matching the setting.
You’re almost there! Flip the carrier back over, with the pocket facing down and the width adjuster facing up. Lay your child on the carrier, bottom at the base of the carrier, and see if the panel height and width appear correct. Don’t worry about getting it perfect—it’s often easier to tell what needs to be adjusted once baby is up and in the carrier.
How to put your baby in the Lenny Upgrade carrier
Step 3: Caregiver adjustments
Once you’re satisfied with the panel adjustments for baby, it’s time to adjust the carrier for you!
The Lenny Upgrade has Perfect Fit Adjusters (PFAs), 2-way arm strap adjustments, a chest clip, adjustable waistband, and the option to cross or ruck the arm straps. Many of these adjustments can be made after putting your child on. Once you get the carrier set up as you like it, you will generally only need to adjust again for a different caregiver. You will adjust panel height and width as your child grows!
How to adjust your Lenny Upgrade for the perfect fit for the caregiver:
PFAs—These pull tabs at the top of the shoulder are shipped in a “closed” position, with the pull tab pulled tight. We recommend starting with the PFAs “open.” Do this by loosening the pull tab so that the fabric lays flat instead of bunched. The PFAs are for the caregiver’s comfort. They adjust where the arm padding sits—closer to or on the shoulder, or further down. You can adjust the PFAs to any size opening, and you can even do different size openings on either side.
2-way arm strap adjustments—Before using your carrier for the first time, loosen the webbing on the arm straps. Once the carrier is on, pull the webbing in the direction most comfortable for you. The 2-way adjustment allows you to adjust while on the go in the direction you prefer pulling.
Chest clip—If you are using the carrier in a ruck strap arm position, you will need the chest clip for added support. The chest clip can be moved up or down by sliding the plastic pieces on the webbing on the arm straps. Once you’ve tried the carrier on, determine if having the clip higher or lower would help you to clasp it on your own. Experiment with loose or tight setting on the chest clip. Many find that leaving this looser is more comfortable. This may mean that the shoulder straps sit at the far edges of your shoulders. Play around with the tightness and see!
Waistband adjustment—The Lenny Upgrade waistband fits most caregivers up to size 5x (and can be ordered in longer lengths at no extra cost). We recommend re-tightening after you’ve made sure baby is seated out in the panel (and not sitting on the waistband). You want to be sure that the waistband is parallel front and back. A common fit issue is that the front of the waistband sits lower than the back—this will cause back pain over time. Another common fit issue is not having the waistband tight enough to be flat to your body. Adjust this by moving your little one’s bottom out into the panel, then holding the fabric of the waistband flat against you. Once this fabric is straight up and down, use your other arm to tighten the waistband in place. This will be the most supportive fit! The lumbar support pad included with the carrier is removable for your comfort. Use it if it helps and remove if it does not!
And of course, we can’t forget waistband positioning on the torso. You want baby to be close enough to kiss (without stretching your neck) so that you can adequately monitor their airway. Make sure the waistband is high enough so that you can do this and so that your baby can comfortably sit. If the waistband is too low, it will make your baby look like they are pressed flat against you. Raising the waistband will make a deeper, more comfortable seat. With an older child, lower the waistband to keep the seat from becoming too deep, for a comfortable “arms out” seat. Even a small change of waistband placement can feel much different for the caregiver. If your hips are aching, try different waistband positions on your torso until you find the right one.
Cross strap or ruck strap options—Decide how you’d like the straps to sit before putting the carrier on. You can change the strap pattern by unclipping the bottom of the arm strap from the panel and then re-clipping it in the desired configuration. Depending on your preferred method, you may clip the arm straps in before wearing, or you may clip them after the child is seated in the panel.
How to cross the straps in your Lenny Upgrade / How to wear your toddler:
You’ve done it! Your carrier is adjusted to you and your child. You can always make more adjustments as you go, but this will set you up for success!
Things to keep in mind:
- Webbing: The webbing will be a bit stiff on your carrier as it’s brand new. If it’s too stiff for you to feel comfortable working with it, first wash and dry the carrier (see our Wash & Care Guide here). If it’s still not how you’d like, move the straps back and forth through the settings until it has more give.
- Comfort: You want the carrier to be comfortable for you and your little one! Don’t be afraid to adjust waistband placement, PFAs, and the chest clip. These are common places to adjust that make a big difference in comfort. If ruck straps aren’t as comfortable, try crossing the straps, and vice versa. The beauty of so many adjustments means you can get a very comfortable fit, but it may take a little practice
- Practice makes perfect: You’re unlikely to get everything perfect on your very first carry, but you will quickly learn and settle in. The comfort of a wrap conversion carrier is unmatched, so don’t give up! And, of course, you can always reach out to us at Mama & Roo’s via the chat right here on this page for help =).
Learn better with video? Here's a full, detailed tutorial.